All Aboard! Historic High Speed Rail Conference On Track In New York City

State Senate President Malcolm A. Smith along with other local, state and federal officials will participate in the historic High Speed Rail conference of leading international experts who will discuss ways to bring the speedy passenger train to America. Expected guests include U.S. Secretary of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, Deputy Administrator- Federal Railroad Administrator, Karen Rae, Governor David Paterson, Governor Elect Andrew Cuomo, Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell, US Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and US Congressman John Mica.

Leading transportation experts from around the U.S. and the world will converge on Manhattan from November 14-16 to discuss the benefits of bringing High Speed Rail to America. As part of the discussion, political and business leaders will explain how the massive passenger rail system can be developed in American with the Northeast corridor of Boston, New York and Washington D.C., one of the major passenger routes under consideration.

The focus of the conference is on: winning federal funding for high speed and intercity passenger rail funding, learning how New York State manufacturers and suppliers can partner and promote the high speed rail movement to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

Participants will be networking to set up coalitions and consortiums to get involved in the multiple-billion dollar rail projects throughout the country. To date, $8 billion has been awarded to launch the national High Speed Rail initiative under the leadership of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Senate President Smith, co-chair of the High Speed Rail Working Group of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) said, “High speed rail will redefine our statewide economy and open Upstate markets to consumers across the country. The jobs and business investments that come with a 21st Century transit system will make every community competitive in today’s global economy. Bringing together industry specialists, economic development experts, business leaders, legislative representatives and state and city rail officials to collaborate efforts is a vital component in achieving our long-term goals for high speed rail. I look forward to continuing to work together and keeping the economic revitalization of New York State on track.”

The Obama administration has identified a national high speed rail passenger system as one of its priorities. National Transportation experts have said that developing a High Speed Rail system connecting the Northeast corridor of Boston, Washington and New York would also help alleviate crowded airways.

Current estimates indicate that traveling on a High Speed Rail passenger train from New York City to Albany could take as little as 45 minutes. The current trip is about three hours by car.

“It’s time high speed rail in New York moves past planning and conversation and into developing infrastructure and creating jobs. The ability to travel quickly and efficiently will help stimulate regional economies and reconnect communities nationwide. New York must play an integral role in seeing that the development of high speed rail projects across the country as well as throughout New York move forward,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) said, “The development and implementation of a high-speed rail system in New York State would result in game-changing economic development opportunities across the state, especially Upstate. We must continue diligently to pursue our vision, through bringing together the best and the brightest at conferences like this one, and being vocal advocates for competitive funding.”

Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City said, "The business community sees great economic benefit in high speed rail serving the Northeast Corridor and welcome this significant effort to move toward that objective."

“The development of a high speed rail line along the Northeast corridor will create thousands of jobs, enhance the safety and efficiency of travel for millions of passengers, and help green our region’s transportation network, “said William C. Rudin, Chairman of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY). “There is no better time than now to be investing in this critical infrastructure project that will improve New York’s competitiveness as a global center for commerce, technology and culture.”